Aristochromis christyi / The Malawi Hawk Cichlid 2inch
The Malawi Hawk Cichlid (Aristochromis christyi) is a unique predator in Lake Malawi. Growing to around twelve inches in length, this uncommon species is among the largest cichlids in this ecosystem and is highly adapted for preying upon the many smaller mbuna and utaka found close to the shoreline. With an elongate body and an enlarged, bulbous head, Aristochromis is highly adapted for lunging into the rocks after its agile prey. True to its name, this fish comes at its prey from above, like a hawk, tilting downwards at an angle with a rapid attack.
Christyi has an elongated body and an enlarged, bulbous head. The female and juvenile a, christyi are similar to each other in colour having mainly silvery bodies marked with longitudinal black lines one from which runs from the nape to the tail and with the other along the base of the dorsal fin. As the males reach sexual maturity they lose their stripes and the body colour changes to blue, at the same time the ventral fins change colour to orange in the breeding season. His large, predatory fish grows to a length of 30 centimetres (12 in) total length.
All cichlids share a common feature that some saltwater fish such as wrasses and parrotfish have and that is a well-developed pharyngeal set of teeth that are in the throat, along with their regular teeth. Cichlids have spiny rays in the back parts of the anal, dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fins to help discourage predators. The front part of these fins are soft and perfect for precise positions and effortless movements in the water as opposed to fast swimming.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Very uncommon in the aquarium hobby
- Small to medium size for a cichlid
- Possible to breed in the aquarium
- Compatible with other species in a spacious tank
- Potential to be a "centrepiece" fish
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 73.4° - 81° F (23° - 27° C)
- pH: 7.5 - 9.0
- KH: 8 - 25 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 40 gallons for an adult pair
- Diet: Carnivorous. A variety of high-quality dry, frozen, and live meaty foods is necessary for optimal health and coloration.
- Social behaviour: Loosely social until sexual maturity. Breeding pairs are often aggressive to all other fish.
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